Forget about eating healthier or bumping up my fitness routine—my version of personal improvement revolves around dressing my absolute best. Yes, it’s true—I always set a New Year’s style resolution. In 2018 it was to wear less black. In 2019 it was to buy more investment pieces. Does that sound shallow? Ok, fine sue me. (I’ll see you in court wearing my hot pink tuxedo dress from Khaite!)
But all that was before 2020, a year that gave me plenty of time to reflect on the ways in which my shopping habits impact this planet. In addition to reading The Uninhabitable Earth, which offered an eye-opening look at global warming and what we can do to prevent major disasters, we all witnessed the heartbreaking wildfires in Australia and California and the record-breaking hurricane season. Not to mention, I finally started composting (after years of saying I'd do it) and stopped using plastic sandwich baggies (shout out to Stasher's reusable bags). And, as a result, I’ve picked an almost anti-fashion fashion resolution for our coming trip around the sun. I’ve resolved to only buy secondhand clothing, unless it’s absolutely icky to do so. (I’m absolutely not wearing anybody else’s underwear, people.)
It might sound extreme, especially for someone who works in fashion and has to get dressed for a living. But after educating myself on the environmentally unfriendly practices that often go into making clothes, I found myself feeling…guilty every time I went to get dressed. Between the too-cheap-to-be-true retailers who exploit their workers to the brands using never-break-down materials (like polyester and acrylic) during the manufacturing process, I couldn’t just sit back and continue mindless consuming. Plus, after years of ordering items online, I’m still shocked by the wasteful packaging that goes into shipping even the tiniest pair of socks. Finally, I think putting restrictions on myself might actually yield more creativity—something we all need heading into the new year. So, with that eye towards sustainability and innovation, it’s my mission to not unwrap anything new in the new year.
What does this no-new-clothes rule look like? Well, if the item I’m in search of can be bought secondhand, a vintage or second-hand store will be the first place I look for it. This is actually nothing new for me. I’ve been known to spend hours on The Real Real and Tradesy on the hunt for a Prada bag I spotted on the street. And I’ve recently upgraded my wallet with a stunning Louis Vuitton number from StockX. But for more everyday pieces (you know, those that don’t have designer price tags), I’ll be scouring the websites of my fave local vintage stores in Brooklyn, including The Break, Awoke Vintage and Mirth. I’ll also head to e-consignment shops from around the world, like Scout in LA, Feathers Vintage in Austin, TX and Singulier MTL in Montreal.